The British specific policy information is contained in letters from 1999/2000. I know I posted a few, and I'm sure konceptual99 (?) posted more too. It gives what the elders actually do retain after notes have been destroyed. It's not a lot. Sure someone can link. My internet keeps dying (BT sucks) or I would repost.
I've not posted any letters as I've not been an elder or had access to the file. I was almost certain each congregation had to register but I can't find anything to confirm this as this was 15 plus years ago. There have definitely been letters and instructions sent regarding the DPA and the general storage of records. There are also differences between what is kept about general judicial matters and those specifically about child abuse.
There is a yearly "audit" of notes and records to purge anything which is not on the list of acceptable records. I've known about this for years and discussed it several times with friends and family who are elders and served as the congregation secretary.
The fundamental reason was the DPA, especially the fact that elders could not be trusted to take impartial notes about a judicial matter and would put stupid things into writing. I would not be surprised if there were wider reasons such as plausible deniability should documents be requested by authorities.
Of course there is the implication that this approach is a systematic plan by the WTS in Britain to remove information on child abuse cases but the letter makes it clear that the audit does not apply child abuse information.
Having said that. I think the BBC report touches on a number of concerns. For example:
- what happens if a matter never actually gets categorised as child abuse?
- is the information held about child abuse cases and abusers sufficient?
- what prevents an incorrect interpretation of the instructions from allowing required data to be destroyed?
- why has there been no communication to the elders about the letter from the ICO?
- why is there a culture of poor cooperation with the authorities when they do investigate?
- why are judicial processes not suspended until the authorities are allowed to investigate potentially criminal matters?
- why does every process reflect a distrust of authorities, fear of litigation, lack of transparency and general impression the organisation has to be dragged kicking and screaming towards any kind of best practice regarding dealings with it's members and the wider community?